Sunday 29 May 2016

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

We all know the beautiful song from "The Sound of Music" that tells us to think of our favorite things when we are feeling down.  Although my favorite things are not the same as Maria's here are some pictures of thing I am passionate about and that I think of when I want to be happy :)

This is my Creative Dance class.  Creative dance is an introduction to musical theatre for children ages 5-7 where they learn the basics of dance and acting on stage. I love teaching these wonderful children every week and helping them have fun and be creative.  They are so full of joy and every week their happiness and excitement to dance reminds we how much I love to work with children :)
This is my oldest acting class. These girls are learning the basics of stage acting and improvisation. This was my first year teaching this class and it helped me realize how much I love teaching drama.  I have always been passionate about drama and theatre and it has been so amazing to share my passion with others and help theme see how amazing this form of art is. 
This is a picture of a scene I directed as part of my grade 12 drama class.  Canterbury Drama has become a big part of my life over the last four year and I have learned so much. When your in grade 12 you have to choose a 15min scene, find actors, make a set, get costume, and direct the scene in a three week period.  It is a big deal because it is your moment to show everyone everything you have learned in the drama program and showcase your style as a director.  My scene went incredibly well and although it was a lot of hard work it helped me remember how much I love theatre and how much I have learned through the Canterbury Drama program.
This is a picture of a scene from my grade 12 grad project in my drama class.  With a group of 12 grade 12 students we created a show about choice and what choice means to us as grade 12 students.  This was an incredible experience and we took this show to the Sears Ontario Drama festival with 11 of the best high school show in Ontario.  Being at the festival showed me that theatre was the world I wanted to be a part of.  I have been a part of a lot of social circles with athletic people and scholarly people but never have I felt as at home than with theatre people.

I talk a lot about drama and theatre because it is a big part of my life but that is not the only thing I love to do or the only thing I am passionate about.  I love to ski, read, dance, and spend time with my friends and family but the more I think about it I know that if I could only choose one thing to do for the rest of my life I would choose theatre. 

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Join My Team

Dear friends, family, and wonderful people I have yet to meet

I am looking for allies to help me on my passionate learner experiment journey.  Through this experiment a group of students and myself are trying to answer the question "How can I change the world in 24 hours?" and explore our passions. I am trying to see what I can do to make a change in my community about something I am passionate about.  I have determined that I want to work to help get more drama education in elementary schools and I will need some help.  I would love to know what you think and what kind of drama education you would have liked in elementary school? Drama and theatre has so much wonderful things to teach us if we get the opportunity to learn it.  By sending me what you what kind of drama you would have liked in elementary school I can get a better understanding of the most important things missing from the programs right now and work to help change them.

Thank you show much for your help everyone! The more help, support, and information I have the more I can work to make a difference in the world around me :)


Abby Skene (AKA Positive Pinky)


Tuesday 19 April 2016

My Life Purpose Quest 2.4

Life Purpose. What a crazy thing to think about.  Should it be a long detailed description of everything I have to do in my life? Or a short novel of everything I believe? Well after watching How to Know Your Life’s Purpose in 5 Minutes” a TED Talk by film producer Adam Leipzig I discovered that for this moment in my life I can define my life purpose with three easy questions...

  • Who are you?;
  • What is the one thing you feel supremely qualified to provide to other people?;
  • Who do you do it for?;
  • What do these people want or need from you?;
  • How do they change or transform as a result of what you give them?

After LOTS of reflection this is what I believe right now...

I am Abby. I perform and teach drama to children. I do it for young kids who would not have an opportunity to experience theatre otherwise. They need someone who will believe in them, build their confidence, let them explore, and introduce them to world of theatre. I help them come out of their shells, have fun, and develop skills they didn't know they had.


A picture of my cast in our children's theatre play "Amy and the Moon Frogs"

As I am writing this my heart literally fills with joy. If you are truly passionate about something you move into "FLOW" and ideas just come rushing out of you. When I talk about theatre for children I get so excited I never want to stop. Have you experienced "FLOW"? What do you never want to stop talking about?


A picture of me and my students after their theatre performance in January 2016

Monday 11 April 2016

I Am a Superhero Learner

In Quest 1.3 we explored how we as individuals learn and what it means to be a superhero learner

I am a superhero learner.

I am a superhero learner.  I learn best when my teachers are engaged in what they are talking about and when I am in a positive environment. I get very engaged in my learning and it is important to me that my teacher and peers are supporting me while I explore new topics.

I am a superhero learner. I am mostly an auditory learner but also benefit from visual aids. I always ask lots of questions and make sure I am very involved in my learning environment.

I am a superhero learner.  I do not learn well from reading from the textbook and answering questions in my work book.  I do not want to regurgitate information I want to understand it. I also do not learn well from negative teachers.  If teachers are constantly focussing on my faults and not trying to see the positives I bring to the classroom I cannot feel comfortable in the work environment and therefore I cannot learn.

I am a superhero learner.  If the circumstances do not match my learning style I go to get help somewhere where I can learn the information in a way that works for me.  I am often in the resource center at my school and go to my teacher all the time for extra help.

I am a superhero learner.  If I could tell my younger self something to help  them learn better I would say don’t worry about being the best.  Go at your own pace and learn things in your own way. Don’t worry about everyone else just worry about yourself. You are a great learner just the way you re just keep working hard! :)

I am a superhero learner.  I want to learn more about working with children and how to be a better leader.  I want to make a difference in the lives of others. The more resources and skills I have to do that the closer I am to succeeding.

I am a superhero learner and in order to make myself a better learner I need work on being more decisive so that I can make choices in my learning environment easily without stress.

I am a superhero learner.  I  use my digital literacy skills to always make my presentations interesting and entertaining.  I use programs like Powtoon and Prezi to make sure that I am making a presentation that represents the effort I put into it and helps get make message across to the class.

I am a superhero learner and if I am passionate about something I will speak up and I will do something about it.  If I feel strongly about a topic we are talking about in class I do not hesitate to raise my hand and share my opinion. If I love doing something I will make an effort to make sure I get the opportunity to do it.  I give 100% to everything I do and if there is a problem I make sure it gets solved and that everything works out well.  I invest a lot of myself into what I'm doing and I always want it to be the best that it can be.

I am a superhero learner. I am passionate about drama education in elementary schools, children's theatre, drama, teaching, and helping young people feel confident in themselves.  I want to help others be successful and any opportunity I have to better the lives of those arounds me fills me with joy.

I am a superhero learner.  I am lucky to be at a school where I get to study Drama everyday.  I learn more and more about Drama each day of high school and through this program I get to reach out to elementary schools in my area and help bring drama to those communities as well.  

I am a superhero learner.  If I could build a learning environment perfect for what I want I would make a big open space with lots of pillows.  Instead of sitting in desks for class we would sit in a circle on the ground so the everyone would be more connected. There would be lots of windows so we would have lots of natural light and everyone would get a small work station that they could personalize however they want. I would want it to be a  happy positive work environment where everyone is excited to come to class each day.

I am a superhero learner and I love to learn :)


Is it a bird, is it a plane no its POSITIVE PINKY!

In Quest 1.2 we looked at our signature strengths and weaknesses and I discovered my superhero persona!


Is it a bird, is it a plane no its POSITIVE PINKY on her way to make the world a happier, more positive, sparkly place!


Kindness (Optimism): POSITIVE PINKY number one goal is to be kind and spread positive energy.  In a recent interview she said “no one wants to be around negative people all the time and everyone works better in a positive environment”. She works very hard to be kind and helpful to the all the people in her life and even if she does not necessarily get along with someone she will find a way to treat them with respect.  She is constantly helping people around her feel better and look on the bright side.  

Leadership: POSITIVE PINKY loves to be in leadership positions.  She likes helping people come together to achieve a goal and she is very good at organizing groups of people and events. POSITIVE PINKY is a good leader because she works hard to make sure everyone's ideas are being heard and that everyone involved feels like they are an active member of the group.

Social Intelligence: POSITIVE PINKY is very good at knowing how the people around her are feeling. She is able to adjust her behaviour to match the moods of those around her.  If someone is excited she is able to be excited with them but if someone is having a hard day she is able to tone done her usual enthusiastic behaviour and help them through their hard day.

Persistence: No matter what POSITIVE PINKY never gives up.  She is often very busy but she will push through to get something done no matter what difficulties are thrown her way. She hates to give up and knows that there is always a solution no matter the problem.  Once she wanted to create a children's theatre show for kids in her area.  Very few people were interested in being involved and she struggled to find a script for months.  In the end she found a small group of amazing actors, found a script she was able to modify, found costumes, and contacted schools in her area.  She was able to tour the show around to three school in her community.  It was not easy but she pushed through because she knew that with hard work she could get it done.

Creativity: POSITIVE PINKY loves to be creative.  She has created several shows throughout her high school career and is an active member of her school's improv team.  She loves to make stuff up and be silly and she is always full of fun exciting ideas. She loves crafts and trying new things.  Give her a chance to have fun and explore new things and she will thrive.


Open-mindedness (Indecisiveness specifically): The one thing that will really get POSITIVE PINKY down is having to make a hard decision.  Having to make decisions is enough to bring Positive Pinky to her knees.  She is always worried about regret and about making the wrong choice. She has been known to become very very stressed and need help from others when having to make any decision big or small.

Some Quotes that POSITIVE PINKY feel represent her are…

How are your skills helping you change the world?

What makes a perfect teacher?

For our first Quest in the Passionate Learner Experiment we had to answer the question "What makes the perfect teacher?" Heres what happened when I sat down for an exclusive interview :)

What makes a perfect teacher?
An exclusive Interview with Abby Skene

Earlier this week we sat down with Grade 12 student Abby Skene to get a better understanding of how she learns and get her ideas on the age old question…

Interviewer: Hello Abby thanks for coming in today

Abby: I am happy to be here :)

Interviewer: Well I know you are a busy girl so let's get right down to it…. First we would like to ask you what do you need from a teacher in order to be a successful learner?

Abby: Hmmmmmm well I would have to say that understanding, patients, and enthusiasm are important characteristics for me in my teachers.  I tend to take a little bit longer to process new concepts and understand exactly what I have to get done for a project. I really appreciate it when teachers are understanding of the extra explanation I sometimes need and are willing to go over things until I feel comfortable with what i'm doing. I love to learn new things and be a part of projects but I find it very difficult to make quality work when my teacher is not engaged.  I am so much happier to work and participate if my teacher is enthusiastic and excited about what I'm doing.

Interviewer: Alright that was a great answer now a similar question but a little different...What do you WANT from a teacher?

Abby: Hmmm well that's a little trickier.  I like it when teachers take the time to get to know me and care about what's going on in my life.  It's important to me that teachers don't just see me as someone who comes to their class everyday but as an enthusiastic and engaged individual. I like to be a part of a bigger picture so I love it when we have assignment in class that help us reach out to other people and make a real difference in our community

Interviewer: Wow very interesting answer….. Can you tell us a little about what you have loved about a teacher in the past

Abby: Oh I have had so many amazing teachers it's hard to pick just a few things.  I think the quality that all my favorite teacher have shared are interesting assignments. Some examples of great assignments I have in the past are…

-In my ancient civilizations class last year we did a project on Egypt where we created a tomb full of information on a Pharaoh then had to solve hieroglyphic clues to find where the tombs were hidden around the school as if we were tomb raiders

- In my Link crew class this year we got to create a lesson based on a chapter in the book "Me to We" and create an activity that helped people develop the skills learned in that chapter

-Also in my link crew class this year we wrote letters to Santa at Christmas asking for two changes we wanted to see in the world, two changes we wanted to see in our school, and two changes we wanted to see in ourselves I love to be creative and try new things and when my teachers help guide me with assignments that allow me to develop those skills I thrive. My favorite teachers have also been willing to give me extra help and have worked with me to make my learning experience as great as it could be.  I do my best to reach out and get help when I need it but it is also nice to have a teacher reach out to me with suggestions.


Interviewer: Wow passionately put Abby :) Now our last question for you today is what are things you wish you could change about past teachers?

Abby: It really frustrates me when teachers don't take the time to get to know me.  I am a passionate, enthusiastic, loud, and engaged learner but sometimes I get perceived as just loud, disruptive, and self absorbed.  I get very excited about what I have to say and if I speak out of turn it is most likely because I am very engaged in the conversation and forget to raise my hand. I have a lot of teachers whose classes I could have loved if they had realized I am not just a loud drama kid.

Interviewer: Well Abby I can tell you have really thought hard about these questions and I thank you for sharing with us today.  We hope to talk to you again very soon

Abby: Thank you for having I'm sure you will hear more from me on my passionate learner journey


What are you teaching the world?

Before we get going on the Quests that make up the Passionate Learner Experiment I thought it would be interesting to share this video from Kid President .  I am a huge fan of Kid President and his pep talks and I think this one is really relevant to what we are trying to do with this experiment. We are all teachers and students in the classroom and in our community and it is interesting to think about what role we play in both of those environments. Ask yourself "What am I teaching the world?" and see what you can think up :)